AMHERST, Va. – An Amherst County house is a familiar sight and even an eyesore to some who drive along South Amherst Highway. Now, it’s captured the attention of health and environmental officials due to its potentially hazardous conditions.
A well-known property, 4171 South Amherst Highway, sits on one of the busiest corridors in Amherst County.
The owners of the $1.9 million dollar vacant property are facing legal issues now that state health and environmental officials are involved.
"We’re concerned,” said the county’s building code inspector, Nathan Young.
Young, along with Virginia’s Department of Quality and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are all concerned over the deteriorating property and possibility of asbestos.
Robert Dail, deputy regional director for Virginia Dept. of Environmental Quality said, “A member of VDEQ Waste staff visited the site earlier this week as part of a joint inspection requested by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI).”
“Our main concern is for the health, safety, welfare of Amherst County citizens and guests,” said Young.
Young says since February 2018, the county has received multiple complaints about the vacant property.
County officials say one of the single-family homes is deteriorating and unsafe.
"The structural elements had begun to fall apart. The brick manor had collapsed on one side of the building,” Young said.
In September of last year, county leaders reached an agreement with the property owners to tear down one of the homes. They haven’t touched it since.
"We try to work with the owners to bring the property in compliance. The problem is we've become stagnant,” Young said.
10 News was onsite as health officials with the state collected materials.
OSHA confirmed it has an open investigation and is waiting for results to determine if there is asbestos on the property.
Paul Saunier, the regional health director for the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry told 10 News,
“We currently have an open inspection. We are awaiting results to determine if any materials contain asbestos and will determine if any violations of applicable standards existed.”
Theodore Macheras, Robert Woody and Brenda Woody are the owners.
10 News went to an address listed for Robert and Brenda Woody, but no one answered.
The Amherst County Sheriff’s Office says charges are pending in connection with the property.
The years-long battle continues with the county---until the owners step up. And if not, the county will have to step in.
Macheras has been arrested and charged with littering. He has a hearing Tuesday.